Sweet and Lowdown

It doesn’t take much to spark the imagination for Fleur de California’s label is a pretty postcard from the past. Gatsby, Gershwin, Garbo: the Jazz Age is at hand! But you can’t judge a book by its cover, or so it seems a pinot by its package.

2003 Fleur de California Pinot Noir was a deep and transparent ruby red in the glass. To the nose this Carneros pinot noir was ripe cherry and strawberry juice, new oak and alcohol. I detected a little Brettanomyces buried beneath the heavy fruit extract as well. With its full, juicy mouthfeel it was hard to tell I was drinking pinot at all save for what the pretty label told me. In fact, this pinot was way too fat and cloying to drink with dinner (try as I might). The wine finished astringently with a modicum of acidity.

It’s a shame really that people even make this style of wine. Not that all pinot need be elegant and lean but it should work with food at least a little, right? To be true, the bottle’s back-copy describes itself as bright, fresh and approachable but so is Beaujolais! And if picnic wine is what your after Dornfelder would be a better choice. I’d really be surprised if those responsible for Fleur de California Pinot Noir sit down to dinner with a bottle of this very often and I hope for Gershwin’s sake that dinner in their homes pairs Rhapsody in Blue with better wine. Not recommended!

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